Sirona’s CEREC® Technology: Win-Win for Patients and Practitioners
Roddy MacLeod, Vice President, CAD/CAM for Sirona Dental Inc., says patients are the ones to benefit most when their dentists offer restorations chairside using the CEREC® CAD/CAM system. “They only need one appointment, instead of two; the impression is taken digitally, not with a goopy tray impression; and there’s no temporary that could come out at an inconvenient time,” MacLeod explains. What’s more, he says, patients tend to perceive greater value in the services of dentists who use advanced technology.
What patients may not see as readily, MacLeod adds, is how these advances mean final restorations that fit better and require fewer adjustments, or how their general practitioner can now offer added dental services more quickly, efficiently, and less expensively—all of which is good for both patients and dentists.
The biggest advantage of having an in-office CAD/CAM system, MacLeod suggests, is that “you can do more dentistry with it than without it; it leverages the labor in the practice.” He uses the example of a North Carolina clinician who switched from a strategy of marketing to attract more patients to one of offering more dentistry to the patients he already has. “He’s got the same number of patients, the same number of staff, but he is collecting about $5,000 to $10,000 more per month in revenue.”
Sirona, MacLeod says, focuses its attention on three areas geared toward dentists who now own or are considering purchasing a CEREC system.
First is creating easy-to-learn and easy-to-use products, such as the no-powder, color CEREC Omnicam with “flexible and forgiving” 4.0 software. “Previously, camera images were black and white or monochromatic yellow,” MacLeod explains. “Now the actual colors—of blood vessels, gum tissue, enamel, etc—come up on the screen, and are used in the software, which improves diagnosis and aids in tasks such as marking and identifying the restoration margin.”
According to MacLeod, the company is also developing new materials, including a high-strength, full-contour zirconia that can replace porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) or cast gold using traditional techniques, as well as be used for chairside delivery of full-contour zirconia restorations. “Today, CEREC is the only system in the market that allows chairside application of full-contour zirconia.”
MacLeod also describes a continuing effort by Sirona to adapt CEREC to implantology, so general practitioners can place single implants in their offices with confidence and make their own custom abutments and drill guides. “CEREC can produce and fabricate a chairside drilling guide for implant placement and fabricate custom abutments on chairside milling systems—something that was a costly and outsourced procedure in the past.”
To help familiarize practitioners with the new technology, the company offers educational seminars in which CEREC clinicians reach out to their colleagues to make them aware of the system’s many advantages, MacLeod says. For those who purchase systems, CEREC includes a comprehensive training program that features 2 days of clinical training with an experienced practitioner at one of CEREC’s 30 training centers, followed by a third free day of training conducted in the clinician’s own office with patients. “In addition to that, every CEREC doctor in the United States gets a free 1-year membership to a comprehensive CEREC website called cerecdoctors.com, which has thousands of clinical videos and a forum for questions and answers between clinicians using the technology,” he says.
“We see a very nice future for the dentist in digitally assisted dentistry,” MacLeod concludes. “It is something that allows them to do more dentistry with their patients while more fully utilizing staff, and with more dentistry usually comes more profitability.” Explaining where CEREC fits in, he offers, “We think that between the Omnicam and CEREC 4.0 software and bringing full-contour zirconia, implant abutments, and drill guides into the chairside setting, CEREC is among the hottest focal points for forward-thinking clinicians who want to challenge themselves clinically and be able to offer their patients a superior experience.”
Sirona Dental INC.
4835 Sirona Dr, Suite 100
Charlotte, NC 28273